May 2019

Omni-Channel Approach: from Theory to Practice

Mobile strategy
NearIT talks about omni-channel approach

Stores, websites, e-commerce platforms and social networks are the places where a Brand meets and interacts with its customers. Thus, it is essential to manage each touchpoint in an integrated way, creating a smoother and simpler user experience. This is what we call an omni-channel approach.

Imagine you are a local farmer and have a small shop in the center of your city. To inform about your company, you create an official website where a chatbot has been included to assist customers and visitors in real time, also a Facebook and Instagram profile have been created where you say what you do. You have also recently developed an e-commerce platform to sell your products outside your territory. And who knows, in the future there will maybe also be a point of sale abroad.

NearIT talks about omni-channel approach

Shops, websites, social media, and e-commerce platforms are the physical and digital places where you meet customers who interact with your brand using different tools and methods, depending on their habits, behaviors and lifestyle. For example, they may have noticed you via their smartphones on Instagram while waiting for the bus. They clicked on your photo, and linked to your website to buy a selection of products, and they wrote a review on your Facebook page from their home computer.

To ensure a smooth customer journey for your clients, make sure all the steps of their purchase route are integrated in a coherent way, and at the same time, with different characteristics depending on the communication tools needed to reach them: that’s the omni-channel approach.

Omni-channel Strategy

By omni-channel approach we mean the correlated management of the different contact points (or touchpoints) and interaction channels between company and consumers, with the aim of optimizing their experience. Contact points are the assets a company uses to build a relationship with its customers along the process: advertising, pre-sales, payment and post-sales. They can be physical (retail, call center) or online (social media, mobile app, and e-commerce site). SourcePolitecnico di Milano, Omnichannel Experience Observatory

Developing an omni-channel strategy therefore means interpreting changes in the way consumers think and make purchases, involving them differently each time and making them feel part of a world of shared value and meaning. Given the great availability of data and information, the selection of which products or services to use is no longer just a question of quality and price, but of sensations and emotions linked to the shopping experience.

An omni-channel client therefore expects fast responses, consistent with their needs, that do not require further research efforts or repeat the same actions several times. This is also regardless of the access point to a brand-physical online store, or even on the move.

NearIT talks about omni-channel approach
NearIT talks about omni-channel approach

Why is Data so Important

For an integrated management of its contact points, a brand must match an integrated collection and management of data about the interests, behaviors and habits of its users. This is necessary to enhance their brand experience through increasingly timely communication, able to engage them when they are searching for something, thus strategically planning their proposal.

According to the Omni-channel Experience Observatory, almost all Italian companies collect and store personal data reporting the history of a purchase (86%). About three out of four also do so for data collected through analytic systems on proprietary channels (79%), for market surveys and customer satisfaction surveys (76%) and for the results of online advertising campaigns (74%).

However, almost a quarter of companies still do not integrate any of this information to get a complete picture of their customers. Only about 40% do it by managing two or three types of basic and simple information.

Digital Touchpoints: the App

Amongst the online contact points available to a company, the app is the channel that allows them to communicate directly on their users smartphone in real time and in a precise personal and relevant manner, adding value to the experience.

Taking advantage of the profiling features provided by the new proximity technologies, it is possible to outline the customers profile, starting from generic information, such as age or gender, up to information relating to their interests, preferences and habits.

In fact, greater trust and a lasting relationship could be established by the ability to provide valuable answers: preferably in real time, thus solidifying company-customer relationship.

Are you thinking of a new strategy? Read: Precision Marketing: Tailor-made Communication.

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